, November 2011
This is the 14th release by the Ames Piano Quartet, the resident chamber music ensemble of Iowa State University. Their latest recording features French chamber music from the first half of the twentieth century.
Venezuelan-born Francophile Reynaldo Hahn (1874–1947) is represented here by a late Quartet in G published in 1946. His elegant, finely crafted quartet betrays little personal anxiety considering the circumstances; though the tender third movement suggests a certain regret, the general tone is one of restrained optimism.
Florent Schmitt[’s] Hasards Op. 96 (1944) towers over his compatriots on this recording thanks to its brilliant colours, refreshing mutability and sheer rhythmic inventiveness.
Bringing up the rear is the teacher of both Hahn and Schmitt, the distinguished Théodore Dubois (1837–1924)…his impeccably proper Quartet in A minor (1907) bring to mind the music of César Franck, an impression confirmed by the cyclic return of earlier themes in the finale of the work. Schmitt remains the indubitable star of the show however and reason enough to own this intriguing collection of lesser-known repertoire.